Pros:Right size and length
Cons:overpriced, stiff and brittle
The Bottom Line: I love my Camelbak hydration packs. I cannot stand Camelbak's accessories and replacement parts. Functional, but not optimal.
About twenty years ago, a couple of Californians cobbled together a “hydration system” from what, for all the world, appears to have been a surplus catheter bag and a neoprene sack, with some straps and a few fittings added. That was the first Camelbak, clearly a monument to American ingenuity.
In the ensuing decades, the company’s expanded their line to a slew of different size packs and aimed their systems at different classes of users. They’ve added water bottles and filtration systems. They’ve come out with a whole new line of reservoirs and doofus accoutrements like a meter. Somewhere along the line, they began blowing it – and they’re still blowing it.
I couldn’t function on the road bike without my battered three-year-old Rogue, a sweat- and slightly grease-stained red 2-liter model that’s my third from the company. But the reservoir and drinking tube got dirty, so I picked up an overprices brush system (to replace the one I still can’t find). Disappointment ensued… but that’s another story.
The tube had collapsed from years of use (in the broiling Texas sun) – in case you don’t know, the tubing is lined, and my lining had delaminated, which meant that sucking on that big bite valve was as likely to produce nothing as to produce a cooling draught. So I bought a replacement tube – two of them, in fact – at the not insignificant price of $9.00 (about 24¢ per inch).
The tube is the same diameter, color and 38½-inch length as the original. It bears the same Pure Flow™ logo in the same font. It came with reasonably useful instructions for installation. It’s made in the USA (the label says so). What’s different is that the replacement tubing is nothing like the original when it comes to flexibility. The original was supple and bent in smooth curves; the new one is so stiff as to be almost brittle. As I installed one of the replacement tubes, it folded double – and now it has a noticeable kink. This user is not a happy camper.
It looks like Camelbak is pushing their insulated tubes (what good is that?), at double the price, by selling substandard replacements. So, two times in less than a month, I’ve been disappointed by Camelbak.
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